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Spectrum: Autism Research News

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Science & Society

From funding decisions to scientific fraud, a wide range of societal factors shape autism research.

January 2014

Duplication of chromosome 22 region thwarts schizophrenia

by  /  2 January 2014

Carrying a duplication of the 22q11.2 chromosomal region may protect against schizophrenia, suggests a study published 12 November in Molecular Psychiatry. This is the first evidence of a genetic region that lowers the risk of a disorder rather than increases it.

December 2013

Charting typical brain development

by  /  20 December 2013

How can we characterize what is atypical when we don’t fully understand what typical brain development looks like, particularly under the age of 5? Christine Wu Nordahl explains the importance of scanning the brains of typically developing children.


Genetics: SHANK3 duplication leads to hyperactivity in mice

by  /  17 December 2013

Mice with a duplication of SHANK3, a gene with strong links to autism, are hyperactive and manic, reports a study published 7 November in Nature.


Cognitive dissonance

by  /  13 December 2013

Intelligence quotients and education levels are not as important for people with autism when it comes to life satisfaction and the ability to live independently, says Emily Willingham.


Sharp microscope captures growing embryos, changing brains

by  /  11 December 2013

Researchers have developed a new way to perform high-resolution microscopy in a moving, changing organism, they reported in November in Nature Biotechnology. They used the method to follow the development of a live embryo and its brain.


Analysis debunks link between autism, fertility treatments

by  /  10 December 2013

Studies with the best quality ratings and the largest sample sizes showed no increased risk of autism for children born from assisted reproductive technologies, reports a review published in the December issue of Human Reproduction.


Child-sized brain imaging device improves data collection

by  /  4 December 2013

A small, customized magnetoencephalography device records signals in children’s brains better than the typical adult-sized machine does, reports a study published 8 October in Molecular Autism.


Many children with autism take multiple drugs

by  /  3 December 2013

It’s common for children with autism to take more than one medication to improve symptoms, despite the dearth of information about the drugs’ long-term safety, according to two new studies.

November 2013

Hear this: Listening device helps children with autism

by  /  29 November 2013

A wireless radio-frequency listening device helps children with autism hear others talk, which in turn improves their social interactions and learning, reports a study published 30 October in The Journal of Pediatrics.


Television time

by  /  22 November 2013

Teenagers with autism have a penchant for cartoons and first-person shooter video games, but for at least some of them, screen time may translate to a useful social tool, two new studies suggest.